• International Womens Day

    Posted by Amanda

    8 March, 2011

    The international celebration of all things female - International Women's Day - is 100 years old on Tuesday March 8. I can't believe there has been a special day for women since 1911 and yet so much still needs to change to give women and girls an equal place in society.

    My friends in London or Sydney may think I am exaggerating. After all, girls do better at school than boys, we occupy more places at university and the cliché of privileged mums sipping coffee while their designer babies sleep in designer prams is a "cliché" because it's true! What more could we want?

    Well, here are my 5 big reasons for supporting a day which highlights women's achievements in all fields and the huge struggles still facing millions of women.

    1. Even in affluent countries, women face inequality. Fewer than one in six parliamentarians are women. Ten countries have no women in parliament and 40 others have fewer than one in ten women as elected representatives. In the UK, Only 12.5% of Board members of the top 100 companies (FTSE 100) are women. In the top 250 companies, 50% have no female Board members at all.

    2. Sylvio Berlosconi!

    3. Most girls and women live in poverty at the very bottom of the opportunity ladder. Think about these facts: Women produce up to 80% of food in developing countries, but are more likely to be hungry than men, are more likely to be unpaid for their labour, and are often denied the right to own land. Women still only own 1% of the world's wealth.

    4. The fact that grown women are called "girls" in the workplace.

    5. Many thousands of girl babies in China and India are aborted, abandoned or killed because parents want boy children.

    So we do still need a day that reminds us all (women and men) that there is more to being female than exploiting their sexiness or leaving them to drudgery. If women live lives of fulfillment, everyone will benefit.

    By Amanda Jackson, Campaigns Coordinator Micah Challenge International.